Last night over on Sugar Lane Designs it was Friday Night Sew In, a virtual sewing party. As I’m Billy-n0-mates this weekend I can sew to my hearts content and I finished my first make of 2017, it also nicely links in with The Monthly Stitch challenge this month; to make something from fabric you’ve only just got, rather than putting it in your stash!
In my Stitching Santa parcel this year I received a length of Ikea home fabric, it’s a lovely heavy weight print and I immediately thought of a bag pattern in Lisa Lam’s Bag-Making Bible. It’s a roomy holdall, with a large pocket at the front. I decided to really go with the colours and I ordered a pink chunky zip and a set of blue leather handles. I was planning to use the green bias binding for piping round the edge but in the end caution got the better of me, I felt adding piping would be two extra layers of fabric too far!
Good bag patterns always seem to take forever to cut out, there are so many pieces, linings, interlinings, interfacings…I counted up at the end and there are over 50 pieces to make this bag!!!!! All the outer fabric pieces were interfaced with a heavy weight vilene. I used a cute rabbit print to line it, it’s from my stash as it was left over from backing a quilt, it’s slightly heavier than quilting cotton. The lining pieces were all interlined with batting, the instructions called for iron-on fleece but here in the UK it’s pretty expensive so I’ve started using batting and spray adhesive! The little white rabbits on the pocket flap turn the right way up once it’s open, I’d like to say it was planned but it was actually a fortuitous mistake 🙂
The bag went together fairly easily, though there were a couple of hiccups! I was undecided at the beginning whether to have a long strap as well as the leather ones, my experience of carrying a heavy bag like that is that it leads to a very stiff neck! When I realised I had bought the necessary rectangular rings for the strap I decided to make one anyway. First step was to make the handle loops and attach them to the zip sides. Everything looked great until I stitched the whole bag together, both loops are at the same end!!
If I make the bag again I would also stitch little bits on straight away. One of the first things made is the zip pulls, they are less than 1″ square once finished, they could have been stitched straight onto the zip bottom panels but this wasn’t done until much later in the proceedings, by which time one had disappeared completely!!
Making this bag taught me some new techniques and methods of making bags. The base has a bag liner, a stiff sheet of plastic which is slotted into a double layer of fabric at the base. The lining was also stitched to the outershell at the main seams inside, so the base and the top and sides are all attached at the seams, this helps the bag lining to hold it’s shape.
I used a walking foot throughout, but even so my trusty sewing machine struggled sometimes with the sheer thickness and number of layers, at times I could barely get the wadge under the foot!
It’s a great bag, roomy, but not too big. I love the blue handles and the pink chunky zip! I think it will be ideal for taking my stuff to Embroiderers Guild…and perfect for stash building trips such as next months Yorkshire Spoolettes meet up in Dewsbury 🙂